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As Jim Cramer always says, nobody ever made a dime panicking. That motto still applies, even if the Federal Reserve decides to raise rates next week.
If the Fed does take action, Cramer warned investors not to do anything dramatic. He recommended to protect with a little more cash, but not to dump stocks wholesale.
"I want to explain to you why I feel that we are facing a decline of moderate proportions, one worth riding through if you can stomach it, and nothing more than that. Only the super nimble need to take action," the "Mad Money" host said.
Looking back, several major sell-offs have happened in the last 8 years since the Great Recession. While a different set of events drove each one, Cramer only thought one was worth selling a majority of holdings.
That was the major decline that came when many financial institutions and industrials came close to collapsing. Systematic risk existed in that situation, and Cramer blessed some major selling.
But other kinds of sell-offs come, too, like the kind in 2011 that saw a 21 percent decline from peak to trough. A financial collapse overseas was possible amid a sovereign debt crisis. Ultimately, the European Central bank made bold moves and saved the day.
Then, individual crises have come, stemming from events like China and the Brexit vote.
"If you look at the decline that we could possibly get from a surprise rate hike, I would immediately take off the table any systematic risk. That removes exhibit A for certain, we may never see that kind of risk again," Cramer said.
The European debacle of 2011 could have been systematic, but not systematic to the U.S., Cramer said. As for Brexit referendum, Cramer thinks the negative effects have not hit yet. Bigger implications could come, but in the interim, there has been no systematic collapse.
Based on these prior cases, Cramer estimated the Fed could prompt a decline of less than 2,000 points, much like the one that occurred after the December hike.
For an individual stock like Apple, which Cramer anticipates could go down another $5 from its current level, he recommended to stay on hold.
"I simply don't believe it is worth it to try to dart in and out of a stock like Apple, even if you think there would be a rate hike," Cramer said.
So while Cramer approved of raising cash into a hike, he says not to dump wholesale in panic. To sell everything would be wrong, and to take profits would be right.